Monday, November 13, 2017

U2 win Global Icon Award at 2017 EMAs

U2, who have now been a formidable force in global music for over 40 years, were deserving winners of the night's award.

Bono and co. received a gushing introduction from actor and 30 Seconds To Mars frontman Jared Leto.

Leto described U2 as the inspiration behind his own band 30 Seconds To Mars, and thanked U2 for their music and "poetry" over the years.

Leto made particular mention of The Joshua Tree, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, as a source of inspiration for him.

U2 had previously performed live from Trafalgar Square in a specially arranged gig that was streamed direct to the main EMA Awards taking place in Wembley.


U2 picked up two awards Friday night at the Los40 Music Awards in Madrid. First was the Golden Music Award 2017, a sort of career achievement-type award that was announced earlier this year. The band later picked up a second award, as The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 won for Tour of the Year.
Bono and Adam both gave brief speeches while accepting each award. Bono spoke a bit in Spanish and gave special thanks to U2's Spanish audience. Adam praised U2's crew for the work they do while the band is on tour. They sat at a table with their manager, Guy Oseary, and longtime friend, actor Penelope Cruz.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Do you believe in Larry Mullen Jr?

"...On drums, the thunder and lighting of the band, Larry Mullen Jnr - and when he smiles the sun comes out..." Bono on Larry


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bono on How U2's 'Songs of Experience' Evolved, Taking on Donald Trump

I've always believed in working across the aisle ... but there's a bully on the bully pulpit and silence is not an option," says the U2 frontman

You started this album three years ago when the world was a very different place. How did the chaos of Brexit, Trump and everything else shape the eventual course of the album? Would it have been a very different album had those things not happened?

On the latter part of the question, it's hard to quantify but I would say the emotional temperature is up about 25 percent.

You've spent the past few months playing The Joshua Tree on tour as you put the finishing touches on the album. Has the tour impacted how you thought about Songs of Experience? How?

In truth, there's a couple of reasons why we delayed Songs of Experience. One personal, one political. The world around us was certainly changing out of all recognition, we nearly lost the European Union, something that has helped keep the peace in our region for nearly 70 years. Globalization replaced with localization is somewhat understandable, but the return of hard right views is not to be tolerated. If Marie La Pen had been elected president of France, the whole idea of a European Union would have been vulnerable.
You've had the same sort of disaffection in the United States with the rise of a new kind of constituency, people on the both left and right who have lost faith in political process, the body politic, in political institutions. These sentiments are easily played and manipulated by the likes of Donald Trump. In a world where people feel bullied by their circumstance, sometimes people fall prey to a bully of their own. Lots of people around me, both conservative and liberal, feel that this is one of those defining moments in their life and in the storied life of their country. After the election, some people on the left were almost grieving I'd say and when I try to understand this, I realized there was a kind of mourning, a mourning for innocence that was lost.
For the first time in many years, maybe in our lifetime, the moral arc of the universe, as Dr. King used to call it, was not bending in the direction of fairness, equality and justice for all. The baseness of political debate, the jingoism, the atavistic fervor of Trump's verbiage reminded us that we were dreaming if we thought evolution applied to consciousness. Democracy is a blip in history and it requires a lot of focus and concentration to keep it intact.
"The Blackout," which started off its life about a more personal apocalypse, some events in my life that more than reminded me of my mortality but then segued into the political dystopia that we're heading towards now. "Dinosaur, wonders why it still walks the earth. A meteor promises it's not going to hurt" would have been a funny line about an aging rock star. It's a little less funny if we're talking about democracy and old certainties – like truth. The second verse "Statues fall, democracy is flat on its back, Jack. We had it all and what we had is not coming back, Zac. A big mouth says the people they don't want to be free for free. The blackout, is this an extinction event we see?" goes straight to the bigger picture of what's at stake in the world right now.
There's a song called "Get Out of Your Own Way" where I've tried to use some biting irony to reflect the anger out on the streets "Fight back, don't take it lying down you've got to bite back. The face of liberty is starting to crack, she had a plan until she got a smack in the mouth and it all went south like freedom. The slaves are looking for someone to lead 'em, the master's looking for someone to need him. The promised land is there for those who need it most and Lincoln's ghost says get out of your own way."

Many of your albums were made with either a single producer or the team of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Why have you moved towards working with so many different producers on single albums?

Since The Joshua Tree, I don't think we've done an album with less than four producers. Though Flood is not credited as a producer on The Joshua Tree, his input was extraordinary. Achtung Baby, he was credited as a producer along with Eno, Lanois and [Steve] Lillywhite. Four producers seems to be the way for us, one for each member of the band. By the way, that's a joke. I think actually there's five on this one.

When we spoke a few months ago, you were critical of the production on 'Songs of Innocence,' saying it lacked "coherence," "should have been more raw" and that some of the songs worked better live. What did you do this time to make sure that didn't happen again?

Thomas Friedman in his book Thank You For Being Late speaks of how machines when they're put on pause cease productivity, but humans when they're put on pause begin a different kind of productivity. The pause on our album gave us a chance to play our songs live in the studio, strip them down to their bare essentials without any studio trickery to see what we really had. That was a great gift to the album even though in some cases we didn't want to run with the live feel, we learnt so much about the songs and that helped with cohesiveness.

On The Tonight Show you added lyrics to "Bullet the Blue Sky" that were unambiguously about Trump. Is that a sign you're going to become (even more) vocal about the dangers he poses to the world?

It is a little bit of a departure as I've always believed in working across the aisle as an anti-poverty activist but this isn't a matter of right or left. There's a bully on the bully pulpit and silence is not an option.

You've talked about how you want U2 to create joy in these insane times. Can you elaborate on that?

Unlike happiness, joy is one of the hardest human emotions to contrive for an artist but it is the mark of my favorite artists whether that be the Beatles, Prince, Beethoven, Oasis. It is life force itself. And I think something to do with the spilling over of gratitude for just being alive. Indeed as I think of it, Beethoven has his "Ode to Joy." The Supremes singing "Stop in the Name of Love" to me is one of the great anti-war songs. Although think it's about a lover's betrayal, the highness of the melody, the simplicity of the statement could be Ramones, could be Coldplay but I don't think there's anything more defiant than joy in difficult times. And the essence of romance is defiance. This is where rock & roll came in, this is what makes us useful. We must resist surrendering to melancholy for only the most special moments. That's a long way to say check our new single out, "You're the Best Thing About Me," it's kind of like punk Supremes.

What are the common themes that tie the songs on Songs of Experience together?

I try not to talk about William Blake too much because it sounds pretentious quoting such a literary giant but it was his great idea I pinched to compare the person we become through experience to the person who set out on the journey. If you're talking about innocence, you've probably already lost it but I do believe at the far end of experience, it's possible to recover it with wisdom. I'm not saying I have much of that but what little I have, I wanted to cram into these songs. I know U2 go into every album like it's their last one but even more this time I wanted the people around me that I loved to know exactly how I felt. So a lot of the songs are kind of letters, letters to Ali, letters to my sons and daughters, actually our sons and daughters.

There's a song called "The Showman" which is a letter to our audience, it's kind of about performers and how you shouldn't trust them too much. It's about me, haha. There's a funny line, well, I think it's funny anyway, "I lie for a living, I love to let on but you make it true when you sing along.?

It's like a Fifties Beatles-in-Hamburg type tune. There's a letter to America called "American Soul," Kendrick Lamar used a bit of this for "XXX" on his new album. And one that I didn't realize until too late that I was writing to myself, "It's the Little Things Give You Away." In all of these advice type songs, you are of course preaching what you need to hear. In that sense, they're all written to the singer. One other piece on Blake, I don't know if I'm explaining too much here but the best songs for me are often arguments with yourself or arguments with some other version of yourself. Even singing our song "One," which was half fiction, I've had this ongoing fight. In "Little Things," innocence challenges experience: "I saw you on the stairs, you didn't notice I was there, that's cause you were busy talking at me, not to me. You were high above the storm, a hurricane being born but this freedom just might cost you your liberty."

At the end of the song, experience breaks down and admits his deepest fears, having been called out on it by his younger, braver, bolder self. That same conversation also opens the album with a song called" Love Is All We Have Left." My favorite opening line to a U2 album: "There's nothing to stop this being the best day ever." In the second verse, innocence admonishes experience: "Now you're at the other end of the telescope, seven billion stars in her eyes, so many stars so many ways of seeing, hey, this is no time not to be alive." It's a chilling moment – in the chorus I was pretending to be Frank Sinatra singing on the moon, a sci-fi torch song "love, love is all we have left, a baby cries on the doorstep, love is all we have left."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bono at Forbes


To celebrate Forbes’ centennial,  the mag amassed an A-to-Z encyclopedia of ideas from 100 entrepreneurs, visionaries and prophets of capitalism—the greatest ever collection of business essayists and greatest ever portrait portfolio in business history, among them : Bono.



Purpose-Driven Rock Star: Lead Singer, U2; Cofounder, One, (Red), Elevation Partners, Rise Fund

"Capitalism is not immoral, but it is amoral. And it requires our instruction. It's a wild beast that needs to be tamed, a better servant than master."

That's my philosophy with (RED), which partners with corporations to direct profits to fighting HIV/AIDS. The idea really came about after meeting with former Treasury secretary Bob Rubin, where he said, "You have to tell Americans the scale of the problem and what they can do about it. And you have to go about that like Nike does: They spend $50 million on ad campaigns." And I said, "Well, where are we going to get that kind of money?" And he said, "You're clever. You'll figure it out."

And we did. I realized that going to big companies and trying to break into their more modest philanthropy funds was a huge missed opportunity. It was their robust marketing and publicity budgets that we needed. Think of the creative minds in those departments -- the messaging is the most important thing in keeping an issue "hot," making it relevant. Fighting HIV is very difficult. Activists often demonize the corporate world. It's easy to do, but I think it's just foolishness to not recognize the creativity that you can unlock in the corporate world, together with the entertainment world. (RED) has so far generated nearly $500 million for the fight against AIDS, but the heat (RED) companies have created has also helped pressure governments to do their part -- and that's where the big money is, with donor governments spending $87.5 billion on HIV/AIDS since 2002. That's the reason we all do this!

Some of the most selfish people I've met are artists -- I'm one of them -- and some of the most selfless people I've ever met are in business, people like Warren Buffett. So, I've never had that clichéd view of commerce and culture being different. I always remember Björk saying to me that her songs, she feels, are like carpentry. Like her friends in Iceland, one of them designs a chair. Is that more beautiful or useful than a song? Well, it depends on the chair. Or the song. I've always seen what I do as an activist, as an artist, as an investor, as coming from the same place.

Great melodies have a lot in common with great ideas. They're instantly memorable. There's a certain inevitability. There's a sort of beautiful arc. Whether it's a song or business or a solution to a problem facing the world's poor, I see what I do as the same thing. I look for the topline melody, a clear thought. Now, my friends -- and sometimes my bandmates and sometimes my family -- would see this as multiple personality disorder. But for me, it's all the same thing.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Edge on U2's 'Songs of Experience,' Bono's 'Brush With Mortality'

U2 guitarist the Edge explains how a major scare in Bono's life caused big changes to the band's new LP 'Songs of Experience.' Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

By Andy Green
The past three years have tested U2 in different ways, from the fierce backlash they received for gifting 2014's Songs of Innocence to every iTunes user to Bono's devastating bicycle accident, which left him with several fractured bones and a shattered left arm. But those setbacks didn't compare to another crisis Bono faced last year. "He had a brush with mortality," says the Edge, choosing his words carefully (the band won't go into detail on the matter). "He definitely had a serious moment, which caused him to reflect on a lot of things."

The episode caused the band to rethink Songs of Experience, a companion to Songs of Innocence that they had already been working on for more than two years. The resulting LP features less of the slick production that defined Innocence, in favor of a more classic formula: propulsive guitar rockers and ballads that look inward. "I wanted the people around me that I loved to know exactly how I felt," says Bono. "So a lot of the songs are kind of letters – letters to [my wife] Ali, letters to my sons and daughters."

The day after U2 played a show at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Edge called up Rolling Stone to talk about the long road to Songs of Experience and look ahead to next year's arena tour in support of the album. (We also conducted an extensive email interview with Bono that will be going up shortly.)

I see you guys debuted "You're the Best Thing About Me" last night. How did that go?
I wouldn't say it was the best we'll ever play it, but it was good. We hadn't played there recently and the crowd was really into it. I think it was one of the better shows.

You started Songs of Experience in 2014, and some of the shows go back even before that. The world has changed so much since then. How did those external factors change the focus and scope of the album?Mostly what we wanted to do was sit back and see how we felt about it coming out into a world that had taken a big lurch in a different direction. We weren't assuming we'd have to start again and, in fact, we didn't need to. The changes that occurred were predominantly lyrical, and in some cases they were quite subtle. A couple of songs subtly shifted to just sort of emphasize one aspect or better express what we were feeling and the ideas we wanted to put into it. But from a musical point of view, what happened with this delay, which was kind of amazing and great, is that we had all of the songs figured out and most of them recorded to the extent that they were releasable towards September of last year. But a year ago we were kind of feeling that we wanted to explore other production approaches and other ways the songs could be arranged and performed. We felt the band chemistry wasn't as represented as we thought it maybe ought to be.
So in the fall of last year we went back into a room as a band, initially without Bono and then he joined us for a couple of days at the end of the period, and we just played the songs. We played them with half an eye and ear to how they might be performed in a live concert setting. Part of the reason for doing that is that we always went through this kind of routine where we'd record own album, put it out and and then we'd start rearranging the songs live. Then our producers would show up halfway through the tour and they'd be like, "Oh, shit, man, that tune is sounding so cool now. I really wish we'd had that arrangement on the album." Steve Lillywhite used to say, "You guys should finish the album, go on tour with it, learn it, understand the songs fully, and then go back in the studio and re-record it in a week."
We didn't quite do that. We didn't get to perform in front of an audience, but by going back to the rehearsal space and then actually going back to the studio to re-record some of the songs we were able to find a synthesis of the raw band performances and some of the stuff we had created before. We'd sort of import keyboard performances and little ideas we liked from pervious versions and find a way to put them in. It became kind of the best of the band chemistry mixed in with the best of the 21st-century production technology. It's given it a more interesting aesthetic.
I spoke to Bono a couple of months ago and he said he felt thatSongs of Innocence lacked a coherence to the production and should have been more raw.There's this dichotomy to production standards these days where the music listener is used to really precise and simple, stripped-down arrangements so the inaccuracies of a band playing in a room where everything bleeds into everything else is not what's happening. It sounds, dare I say it, old-fashioned. We love when that works for us and we love that feel of people playing in a room, when it sounds fresh. But I think we're also wary of the fact that that sound is associated with 20, 30 years ago. We need to make sure, as we always have done, that we are part of a current conversation that's going in music culture in terms of production, songwriting, melodic structure, all the things that keep the culture moving forward.
What we don't want to be is caught in what I describe as a cultural oxbow lake where others are moving forward and you're still faithfully doing what you've always done, but now you're anachronistic and part of a historical form rather than what's actually pushing the boundaries forward, the flow of where it's going. We'll usually try to have our cake and eat it. We want it both: the hallmarks of the classic band, which is becoming more and more rare, but we also don't want to be perceived, and we don't want to be, a veteran act out of touch with the culture. It's a dance. It's a balance. If we allowed the album to be one extreme or another it would be wrong. It's finding that balance between what we do as a band naturally and then what we can still do in the studio. And the studio is still a songwriting tool for us and the production process is still a songwriting process as well as a production process.
I guess that balance is why you brought in so many different producers for this album.Yeah. I mean, they don't necessarily all work on every song. We ending up bringing in Steve Lillywhite, who we just had this wonderful relationship with in terms of getting in the room and working out arrangements and the minutiae of drum parts and guitar parts. Steve is just a wonderful facilitator for all of us go kind of get into ideas and refine our thing. We've also got Jacknife Lee, who we have worked with for many years. He's got this fascination with hip-hop production and he also works with guitar bands, so he has a foot in a couple of different camps.
Then you have Andy Barlow. He's a full on electronica and synthesizer producer that's not really used to bands or guitars, but he's amazing in other ways. Ryan Tedder is an amazing collaborator and his melodic sense is just so strong. When we're around Ryan these songs get better and better. The choruses get better. The hooks get better. The arrangements get more lean and more focused. And then Jolyon Thomas is a great state-of-the-art rock & roll producer in that he gets and loves bands. He gets and loves guitars, but at the same time what is the right guitar sound so you don't come across like you aren't right up to the minute. There are subtle things sometimes, just the difference between a White Stripes guitar sound and a Led Zeppelin guitar sound. In some ways it's a subtle thing, but in other ways they are worlds apart.
Is Steve your closer? Do you bring him in at the end to see it all out?Hmmm ... Yes and no. I think in this instance, it was more for the organic side of the record. He came in to work on that. At times, we had almost rival versions. We'd have a song like "The Blackout" where we almost had two versions of it. There would be a more organic version and then in a studio upstairs we had another version that was slightly more 21st century, slight more stripped down. We put the album together on a case-by-case basis. "Well, this one can be a little more organic because that one is a bit more processed and disciplined sonically." You probably noticed that the version of "You're the Best Thing About Me" that we released is quite different than the one we are playing live, and the final mix is like six weeks away.
How do you guys pick between songs? What is the process?The process is that we slowly sort of start to put the cornerstone songs in place and then we fill in around them and get clues about the overall identity of the record. For me, one of the breakthrough tune was "The Lights in Front of Me," which is now called "The Lights of Home." We had very rock & roll verses in it that sounded really great, but it was a little retro. We kind of knew it was in the running because we just loved it so much, and then Jacknife did a more stripped-down arrangement. The drums were sort of an open question, so Larry went in and played drums, so it had the discipline of a very contemporary production, but then with this amazing, very beautifully played human drum part on top of it. I think because it was recorded on its own it can kind of occupy the sound spectrum that it does. It still sounds really modern, but it almost sounds like it has a hip-hop influence or rather an R&B influence than a rock one. Anyway, those small little clues sometimes make you go, "OK, wow, that's the synthesis we're trying to achieve here."
In the case of "You're the Best Thing About Me," we were really excited about the mix we had six weeks ago. Then we started talking about how we were going to play it live and I went back to some early demos and found this one that had done at a point when we were experimenting with different arrangement ideas. It was an experiment we hadn't pursued and I thought, "This would be a good approach if we play it live," which we did on the Jimmy Fallon show. It's a fleshed-out approach with some new guitars.
Then Bono came into the studio to listen to it and was like, "OK, something is happening here. It's a better song now. I can't explain why, but I'm feeling something off this." So we kind of went off in a panic with us working furiously with two days to go before we had to turn the single in and get it to everybody for their consideration. We ended up agreeing that the simplicity, the rawness of it offers a counterbalance to the lyric and melody, which is very classic. It's a love song and it kind of takes it in a more convincing way. Somehow the song seems better - and it was totally last minute

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ways to handle stardom: U2

What would Bono do? Lessons in leadership and activism from the world's most successful band.
By Michael J. Fanuele


U2 wraps up each show of its current world tour with stunning portraits of the most consequential women in history, or as Bono defiantly says, “herstory.” Flashing in 7.6k resolution on the largest high-def screen the world has ever seen are the faces of Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks and Hillary Clinton. These are some of the nearly hundred women to whom Bono pays tribute, calling them “women who stood up or sat down for their rights, who insisted and persisted, who light the way.”
This is classic fare for U2, a band that has always brought some church revival to its rock ’n’ roll, preaching while playing. AIDS, poverty, political violence — these are the scourges against which U2 rallies its fans. And if you’ve been to this service, you know how rousing it can be.
When I first saw U2 perform a decade ago, Bono asked us each to work for justice from the “bridges of Selma to the peaks of Kilimanjaro” as every African nation’s flag unfurled in the arena and The Edge plucked the first bars of the band’s next anthem. At that moment, I enlisted — though I had no idea what I would actually do. I could write a check to Amnesty International. I could embrace the nearest stranger. I felt compelled to do something, anything. I was moved. At that moment, with those people, I believed we could make the world a better place.
U2 isn’t only a circus of soft feelings, however. Its members have actually accomplished a great deal of good, raising awareness and money (by some estimates half a billion dollars) for myriad charitable organizations. They’ve used their celebrity to lobby governments, to direct the world’s attention to Africa, ravaged by disease, war and poverty. Bono is the only rock star ever nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, a nomination he received three times. Even President George W. Bush couldn’t resist Bono’s entreaties. The two worked together to bring record levels of foreign aid to Africa. “Bono floored me,” Bush said, “with his knowledge, his energy and his faith.” That’s Bono: flooring world leaders and mobilizing their people.
So how does Bono do it? What is the magic of this supernatural shaman? What spirit does he wield that possesses populations and politicians, not only helping hearts blossom, but changing the very behavior of communities and governments?
Well, it’s inspiration — and no band does it better than U2. In fact, U2 provides lessons in inspiration for all who aspire to move a crowd, from political leaders and corporate executives to teachers and coaches and parents. How do they do it? How does U2 move masses? In addition to the raw power of some irresistible tunes, U2 employs three “notes of inspiration” that sway audiences:
• First, U2 sets grand ambitions. Its members didn’t want to be a rock band. They wanted to be the greatest rock band in the world, and when they achieved that status, they wanted to be something even bigger: to be an instrument for social justice. They want to end the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies. They want to eliminate malaria. They want to eradicate racism and stamp out gender inequality. These are not modest goals; in fact, they’re slightly preposterous. But perhaps it’s the very audacity of these ambitions that inspires conviction. It’s hard to generate an emotional response when talking to the sensible parts of a person. Al Gore had a plan to reduce carbon emissions. He lost. Barack Obama promised to lower the very tides of the oceans. He won. People are moved to do big things, and so as leaders, don’t fear the grand and the audacious and the slightly ridiculous. These are the goals that stretch our imaginations.
• Next, U2 is obsessed with action. Pray. Dance. Sing. Donate. Buy. Write. Protest. U2 is a band of verbs. Like Nike, its first priority is what it wants people to do, not what it wants people to believe. It’s a lesson behavioral psychologists have been practicing for decades: change behavior and beliefs follow; the reverse is too difficult. Religions have known this even longer, encouraging fasting and tithing and missionary work. As Bono himself said, “God doesn’t want prayers; he wants alms.” Leaders should learn from this: Don’t waste your time trying to get your team to buy into your agenda or understand your vision; instead, be dead-clear about what you want them to do. According to Daniel McGinn in his book “Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You Succeed,” this “direction giving” language is every bit as motivating as the grander, gauzier stuff.
• Finally, U2 inspires because it is authentic. A leader can’t hope to move an audience if that audience sniffs a phony. As a band that grew up through the Troubles, hearing bombs explode on Dublin streets and losing friends to sectarian violence, U2 has the moral permission to preach, as it did in Paris as the first performers after the terrorist attack at the Bataclan. “We’re a life cult,” Bono said that week, making it clear the band was coming back to the city as the anti-ISIS. It was coming to do the hard work of healing a community, turning fear and hate into courage and love.
Bono is a creation, of course, a rock ’n’ roll avatar constructed by a teenage Paul Hewson. And yet, “he” is so comfortable in his Bono skin, self-possessed and certain, sunglasses always on. Leaders can learn from that confident expression of character. Know yourself, for sure, but express yourself as a one-of-a-kind entity, a character with passions and quirks all your own. In that display of particular personality comes the authenticity necessary for inspiration.
Ambition. Action. Authenticity. These are the critical elements of inspiration that U2 manifests so powerfully. They’re on glorious display when Bono enters an arena, but they can be displayed by each of us, every day, in the conference rooms and classrooms where the hard work of building a better world gets done. As Bono remarked, “You put on the leather pants and the pants start telling you what to do.”

Michael J. Fanuele is a marketing consultant who most recently served as chief creative officer at General Mills. He’s writing a book about inspiration.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Edge to Replace Instruments for Musicians Affected by Hurricane Harvey

U2 guitarist began Music Rising after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The Edge announced he is raising funds to replace the instruments lost by musicians impacted Hurricane Harvey. The U2 guitarist began his charity Music Rising, in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

"You might recall that Edge – when Hurricane Katrina did its damage to New Orleans and destroyed the lives of so many musicians there – he put together Music Rising," The Edge's U2 bandmate, Bono, said in an interview with Boston radio station Mix 104.1.

"And it was a really clever way of getting the musicians of the area some instruments so they could continue to live."

Though exact plans for the recovery effort haven't solidified just yet, Bono noted that "Edge has been in discussions now to do the same [work] in Houston. And you know, we have private ways that we will respond, but publicly that's what we're doing."

Donations for those affected by Harvey can be made on the Music Rising website.

Friday, September 8, 2017

An interview with Adam Clayton

U2, 'The Joshua Tree' tour
Bono and Adam Clayton of U2 perform on stage on June 26, 2017, in New York City. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

U2 at Jimmy Fallon's

Bono and The Edge Talk Inspiration for U2's Album Songs of Experience

Blistering performance of ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’, written thirty years ago and never sounding more in the moment. 
Could have been a newsflash. 

Looks like the band decided to run the lyrics through 2017. 
Here they are, from tonight.
In the howlin' wind
Comes a stingin' rain
See it drivin' nails
Into the souls on the tree of pain.
From the firefly
A red orange glow
See the face of fear
Runnin' scared in the valley below.

Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue
Bullet the blue.

In the locust wind
Comes a rattle and hum.
Jacob wrestled the angel
And the angel was overcome.
You plant a demon seed
You raise a flower of fire.
We see them burnin' crosses
See the flames, higher and higher.

Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue
Bullet the blue
Suit and tie comes up to me 
Face orange as a rose on a thorn bush 
Skin as thin as orange crush 
And he's peeling off those dollar bills 
Slapping them down 
One hundred 
Two hundred 

I can see those fighter planes 
I can see those fighter planes 
WMD in their veins 

Ground shakes but the children can’t weep
Vaporized in a single tweet 
The emperor rises from his golden throne
Never knowing, never BEING known  
The lights are on the presidents home
Oh my god I’ve never felt so alone
Outside its America
Outside its America

In a far off palace in a far-fetched land 
Another baby plays a baby grand
Fingers on the keys of a siren song
Finger on the button of oblivion
And all I can think of is my son
All I can think of is my son
He misses his ma, misses his da
And he runs 
And he runs 
And he runs 
Into the arms of america

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Edge talks brand new U2!

In an extended chat, Edge discusses U2's new album 'Songs Of Experience'

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hear U2's Lustrous New Single 'You're the Best Thing About Me'

Band debuts official lead single from upcoming 'Songs of Experience' album

 U2 released "You're the Best Thing About Me," the gleaming lead single from their upcoming album Songs of Experience on Wednesday 6th September.

"You're the Best Thing About Me" is a joyous ear-worm about romantic dissatisfaction. Larry Mullen Jr. holds time with a firm, stuttering pattern on drums, and the Edge carries the chorus with pretty shards of melody from his guitar. High backing vocals echo many of Bono's lines, and the singer shows off his own falsetto during a gliding, multi-tracked bridge.

But underneath that appealing surface, Bono is playing the part of a malcontent. "I'll be crying out, how bad can a good time be?/ Shooting off my mouth, that's another great thing about me/ I have everything, but I feel like nothing at all," he sings. "You're the best thing about me," he admits, before adding, "the best things are easy to destroy."

"You're the Best Thing About Me" is the second song U2 have shared recently. The band released "The Blackout" last week.

Speaking with Rolling Stone about Songs of Experience in May, Bono said, "I thought it was done last year," but admitted that the extra time in the studio "has made [the album] better.""The problem is we have 15 songs and to get them down to 12," he continued. "We don't like long players. The actual track listing is not set yet, but we have some proper, proper fuck-off songs."

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rolling Stone on 'The Blackout'

U2 unveiled "The Blackout," a dynamic new track from their upcoming album Songs of Experience on the band's Facebook page. The album follows 2014's Grammy-nominated album, Songs of Innocence.

"The Blackout" video was covertly filmed during the European leg of the Joshua Tree 2017 tour, U2gigs reports, at Amsterdam's Westerunie venue in late July. The allegorical lyrics about the destruction of the Earth and renewal appear to have political undertones, as Bono sings: "Dinosaur wonders why it still walks the Earth, yeah/ The meteor promises it's not gonna hurt" ... "When the lights go out/ In the darkness where we learn to see."

"The Blackout" is the first offering from Songs of Experience, which the band will detail in full on September 6th, the day that the official first single "You're the Best Thing About Me" arrives. U2 previously teased the impending arrival of "The Blackout" with cryptic mail the band sent to fans.

U2 also debuted new song "The Little Things That Give You Away," another track expected to feature on Songs of Experience, during their recent tour.

Bono recently told Rolling Stone of the difference between the band's last two LPs, "the theme of Innocence and Experience has a line from a song called 'Rejoice' which is 'I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me.' I wrote that at 22. That's the spirit of Innocence. But the spirit of Experience is actually I can change the world, I can't change the world in me."

The singer added in May that they were in the process of cutting down the album's tracklist from 15 songs to 12 and promised "we have some proper, proper fuck-off songs. 'Little Things That Give You Away' is one of them."

The Blackout:The new video from the upcoming Songs of Experience

U2 The Blackout

U2 has just premiered the new song and video in their Facebook page: The Blackout, from  Songs of Experience.  First single, 'You're The Best Thing About Me coming Sept. 6thE. The complete video can be seen in U2's official FB.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Happy Birthday, The Edge!!!

The best of days for the Guitar Master!!!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Meters Music collaborates with U2's Adam Clayton for new in-ear headphones

Meters Music's parent company Ashdown Engineering has supplied the U2 bassist with studio and tour amps for many years...

If the combination of keen pricing and celebrity involvement is important when it comes to choosing your next pair of in-ear headphones, read on.

For the launch of its M-Ears headphones, British manufacturer Meters Music is understandably making much of its long relationship with Adam Clayton and his input into the final sound of the headphones themselves.

"I listened to a whole range of samples they gave me for testing, and eventually chose the version now launched as the M-Ears because it had everything you want: precision, clarity and musicality” said the venerable bassist.

Available in black, tan or red finishes, the M-Ears feature 7mm drivers, magnetic earbuds for pain-free cable management and come with a compact carry case. They're on sale now, priced at £50.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Adam Clayton: ""In our band, no one will be a casualty. We all come home, or none of us come home. No one will be left behind"

In a frank and heartfelt speech, U2 bassist Adam Clayton thanked his bandmates of four decades for their support during his treatment and recovery for alcohol abuse years ago, and then joined them for a rollicking rendition of a few hits.

"We have a pact with each other," said Clayton, 57, who was receiving an award from MusiCares, the charity arm of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. "In our band, no one will be a casualty. We all come home, or none of us come home. No one will be left behind. Thank you for honoring that promise, and letting me be in your band.

He ended by quoting lyrics that Bono, U2's frontman, had written when the band was starting out: "If you walk away, walk away, I will follow." At that, his bandmates came out to join him, performing "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," ''Vertigo" and, fittingly, "I Will Follow."

The evening at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square also featured performances by rapper Michael Franti, Jack Garratt, reggae singer Chronixx, Macy Gray, and The Lumineers, who are currently appearing with U2 on their Joshua Tree tour.

Clayton was introduced by British record producer Chris Blackwell as someone who "lived through addiction and came out the other side, and has been courageous enough to admit it."

Taking the stage, the bassist quipped: "I'm not used to achieving anything on my own."
Turning serious, he said: "I'm an alcoholic, addict, but in some ways that devastating disease is what drove me towards this wonderful life I now have. It's just that I couldn't take my friend alcohol. At some point I had to leave it behind and claim my full potential."
He said part of the reason he had a hard time quitting drinking was that, "I didn't think you could be in a band and not drink. It is so much a part of our culture."
It was Eric Clapton, he said, who finally told him he needed help.
"He didn't sugarcoat it. He told me that I needed to change my life and that I wouldn't regret it," Clayton said. He credited another friend, The Who's Pete Townshend, for visiting him in rehab, where he "put steel on my back."
As for his bandmates, Clayton said, "I was lucky because I had three friends who could see what was going on and who loved me enough to take up the slack of my failing. Bono, The Edge, and Larry (Mullen) truly supported me before and after I entered recovery, and I am unreservedly grateful for their friendship, understanding and support."Clayton received the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his support of the MusiCares MAP Fund, which offers musicians access to addiction recovery treatment.
Arriving at the theater earlier, he told reporters the fund was especially important given the current epidemic of opioid addiction. "MusiCares ... really provides funding for a lot of people to look into those things and find help," he said.
He added that his bandmates had been supporting him for 40 years.
You know, I guess they loved me before I knew how to love myself," he said. "So it's really important that they share this with me.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Adam Clayton Talks ‘Joshua Tree’ Tour, MusiCares Award, and ‘Rebooting’ Democracy

Adam Clayton

For the world’s biggest rock band, U2 can be awfully hard on themselves. After all, when you’re that big, what’s ever good enough? And how do you fight the dinosaur syndrome, where veteran artists (no need to name names) make millions rehashing the hits on tour while their new songs are met with a bathroom break? It’s a career syndrome that U2 has fought doggedly and to a large degree successfully, with the cost being a constant thirst to remain relevant and years of work (not to mention soul-searching) on each of their last several albums.
Yet as 2017 dawned, the group seemed uncertain, pulling back their completed album, “Songs of Experience” — the follow-up to 2014’s “Songs of Innocence” (a.k.a. the gift iTunes couldn’t stop giving) — because, as guitarist The Edge told Rolling Stone in January, Trump had been elected and “suddenly the world changed. We just went, ‘Hold on a second – we’ve got to give ourselves a moment to think about this record and about how it relates to what’s going on in the world.’”
Instead, the group decided to look back — something they’ve done rarely in their four-decade career — and tour behind the 30th anniversary of 1987’s 10-times platinum “The Joshua Tree,” the album that made them superstars. Part of the rationale was that the world had returned to a deeply conservative state similar to the height of the Reagan and Thatcher regimes, with the fall of communism and the Clinton years on the horizon but still far away. But U2 are also one of the most business-savvy music artists in history — their 2009-2011 “360” trek grossed a record $736 million — and to the surprise of absolutely no one, “The Joshua Tree Tour 2017″ is hands-down the year’s biggest, selling 1.1 million tickets in 24 hours and grossing $62 million in its first 10 dates, according to Billboard Boxscore. The 50-date campaign began in in Vancouver on May 12 and continues across North America, Europe and South America deep into October, with more dates looking likely.
While the band’s bassist Adam Clayton spoke thoughtfully and expansively about most of those topics during a half-hour conversation with Variety, that wasn’t the purpose of this interview. Clayton is being honored in New York on Monday at MusiCares’ 13th annual Map Fund Benefit concert to raise funds for the organization’s addiction-recovery services. British one-man band Jack Garratt, andU2 opening act The Lumineers will perform — as will U2 — and Clayton, who has been sober for 19 years, will receive the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award. It recognizes his support of the fund and MusiCares — which has distributed $10 million over the past decade to nearly 3,000 substance-abuse clients — as well as his commitment to helping others with the addiction recovery process. “People can be judgmental and say that addicts are weak or they’re bad,” he says. “But my experience is that people in rehab and recovery are actually very courageous.
How does it feel to be revisiting “The Joshua Tree” all these years later?We’re not going back there because it’s the only way we can get out and do some shows; we’re going back as a way to commemorate and celebrate the release of that record, and in some ways look at what’s changed in those 30 years since “The Joshua Tree” came out. It’s about both what’s changed internally for those wide-eyed idealistic young men that toured the world — I think it probably took us all 10 years to recover from the success of “The Joshua Tree,” because it put our lives on a different course — and has the world actually changed very much?
And what are you seeing?Politics is a complicated issue and I think what we’ve learned by the reaction to the left-wing, if you like, in the last two or three years is that there is a tremendous number of people in the middle-income area who do not feel represented and do not feel they have a stake in the future. I very much picked this up recently from millennial [aged] people, they work very hard and their chances of, for example, buying a home are very, very limited. I think [30 years ago] we were somewhat idealistic in terms of what we were buying into, arriving in America with a kind of immigrant hat on, [believing] we can have a stake in this country, and to some extent the mythology of “The Joshua Tree” is in line with that.
Thirty years on, I‘m realizing that vision of America is gone. It’s a much harsher world.
I hope change will come and democracy will reboot itself in America, and it will serve more of the people than it does now. This is a difficult period — there’s a lot of unrest in Europe in exactly the same way [as America], of people just being angry. There’s a lot of anger, and people are struggling and they’ve been struggling for too long.
Is that what you’re hearing from fans?No, we’re not getting a direct feedback in that sense. But in terms of people that one meets in life, and if you’ve got an ear open to what’s happening, I’m getting that sense. It’s certainly true of the way people are voting, and it’s certainly true of what’s been happening in Europe. People are mistrusting traditional politics because it hasn’t worked for them.
Is it true that you’d finished your latest album, “Songs of Experience,” but decided to rethink it because it didn’t feel right after Trump had been elected?Yeah, that was certainly our feeling. Once the election had happened we didn’t want to put out a record without having some time to evaluate what was going on and what was behind the outcome. And certainly that wave of change seemed to be moving through Europe as well, so we did say “Let’s reexamine where we are,” and we did reexamine and I think it’s been better for the record and it’s been better for the songwriting and it’s much more on-message of what U2 does and what U2 does well.
[“Songs of Experience”] has been ready to go for awhile, because it didn’t require a lot of surgery, so to speak — it was a little bit of cosmetic surgery. So we said, “We could put this record out this year, or we could celebrate ‘The Joshua Tree’ and put out the [new] record when all that’s done, and then plan a tour around it and all the things that go along with a new album.” The only spoiler is that ‘The Joshua Tree’ tour has been an enormous, runaway success and we just keep adding dates. So the answer to your question is, [“Songs of Experience”] is ready to go, but at this point I’m not sure when it’s going to go because the tour is still up and running.
 guess there’s no way to tour behind the new album and “The Joshua Tree” at the same time.The messaging would be a little confusing because the new album is really part of a suite of songs that relate to “Songs of Innocence,” which was primarily designed as an indoor tour that had two halves — “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience” — and they were kind of bookends. We planned “Songs of Experience” as an indoor tour; we just don’t think it’s something that would work outdoors. The “Songs of Innocence” [arena] tour two years ago was really powerful and really touched people and touched us. We wanted to continue that intensity and I think that’s what we’re going to try to do.
You’re being honored by MusiCares next week. Why is the organization so close to your heart?I think the reason is, as someone who has been through rehab and recovery, I absolutely acknowledge that lots of people run into difficulty with addiction, and it is somewhat misunderstood. People can be judgmental and say that addicts are weak or they’re bad, but my experience is that people in rehab and recovery are actually very courageous. It’s great to know you can have a second chance. I was very lucky – it was a privilege for me in that I could afford [rehab] and I could put my life on hold to benefit from it. It’s not so easy for most other people, and I think that’s where MusiCares really helps. Around 19 years ago, the success of “The Joshua Tree” had really turned my head and I didn’t know how to cope with it. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but some musicians were there for me and showed me that you could be in a band and not party to a self-destructive [extent]. One of those people was Eric Clapton. It was amazing to me to have him say there is help and there is life after you stop drinking. So I’m very, very grateful to any organization that helps people get clean and sober.
Have you helped others in the way Clapton helped you?Yeah, whenever I’m called upon or whenever I come across anyone who needs some guidance in the matter. In my experience every alcoholic or addict has become obsessed with the eternal question: Am I an addict? And I think if you’re in that cycle, you have to conclude that you are and you have to get help. It’s very frightening for anyone battling those demons. I like to mentor and be there and help someone get to the point where they can make those decisions for themselves.
Are organizations like MusiCares more essential now that Trump and the Republicans have declared war on Obamacare?The fact that there is very little finance for these issues is worrying, especially when every day in the American press I’m reading stories about the proliferation of opiates and the general willingness of medical companies to encourage prescription meds, which is devastating communities in America. I am seeing some open mindedness and some willingness to help [with substance-abuse issues], but generally I don’t think it’s enough. The accidental death of Prince was absolutely shocking to people of my generation, and I come across a lot of families that are damaged and suffer from addiction and alcoholism. It’s just tragic.
Did you have a hand in selecting the performers for the MAP Benefit on Monday night?We have Hal Willner as our musical director and he’s pulled together a great roster of people [who will be announced soon]. One my favorite new artists — I wanted to have some new artists on — is Jack Garratt, he’s a phenomenal force of nature, he’s going to be with us on the night, and so will The Lumineers, who are [opening] some shows with us. There are a few other people who are unconfirmed at this stage but I think they’re gonna come in and make it an interesting, eclectic evening. I think an event like this has to have some newer, younger artists, some new blood. It can’t just be established people turning up.
Who are some other recent newer acts that you like?We had the pleasure of going to see Chance the Rapper, whom we met at Bonnaroo, in Miami the other night. He’s quite a character and of course he’s pioneering a very different approach to the music business, which is interesting. If we are looking at new models of how artists are going to survive in the future, he seems to have figured something out.
And what will you be doing for your MAP benefit performance?For our set I think U2 are going to honor me, I have to say, and we’re going to do something together. But until we get closer to the event and get into rehearsals and have a few more discussions with Hal, I’m not sure if we’re going to be able to set up any collaborations because our schedule is really tight at the moment. But we’re gonna do what we can.

Senior Music Editor